Windows Phone: We’re Huge in Europe

It may be too soon to call it a comeback, but it’s certainly a sign that something big is stirring in the world of Windows Phone, which many had written off as a curiosity that wasn’t going anywhere. New market share figures show that Windows Phone has been surging in important European markets, nearly doubling its market share vs. this time last year.

The numbers from market research firm Kantar WorldPanel ComTech show that in the three months leading up to August 2013, Windows Phone posted its highest sales figures ever, by far, now commanding a 9.2 percent market share across the five major European markets of Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. Only a year ago, that figure stood at a lowly 5.1 percent.

In Great Britain, Windows Phone now has a surprising 12 percent share (vs. 4.5 percent in 2012), along with a 10.8 percent share in France. In Germany, Windows Phone’s market share now stands just 0.7 percent shy of second-place.

Kantar’s research paints a battle in Europe that is now fully focused on just three mobile operating system competitors. Android’s 70 percent market share dominates (and is rising), with iOS and Windows Phone consuming almost the entirety of the remainder. Both BlackBerry and “other” operating systems have been decimated in Europe in the last 12 months, losing 7.4 percent of their collective market share to drop to a minuscule 4.5 percent share of the market. These are likely to further erode over the next 12 months as BlackBerry essentially takes its leave from the industry.

Kantar says that Windows Phone’s explosive growth is driven by the release of Nokia’s lower-cost Lumia 520 and Lumia 620 mobile phones, both of which are powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. These well-reviewed phones are paving the way for affordably priced phones to stay stylish, with critics praising their performance and overall quality in relation to other low-cost handsets.  Trusted Reviews called them “one of the best budget phones” available. These successes may also be helping to drive Windows Mobile sales. From a hardware standpoint, Nokia already stands at number four in the five big European economies, with a mere 0.4 percent market share gap between it and third-place Sony.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is moving ahead on finalizing its acquisition of Nokia, a purchase which was initiated last month.  As the company refines its hardware strategy, expect to see it continue to pour resources into improving the user experience for these lower-cost phones as it muscles its way into the cell phone market. It may be too soon to break out the Champagne, but Microsoft does seem to have tapped into something here.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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